Also by this author: Kingdom Stewardship, Hope for the Hurting, Kingdom Race Theology: God's Answer to Our Racial Crisis
Published by Moody Publishers on October 6, 2020
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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Are Your Trials Actually Opportunities to Behold God?
Many faithful church-goers often feel like something is missing. Perhaps you need more than a daily devotional or small group discussion. Perhaps you feel like you’re just going through the motions. What all Christians need for the spiritual journey is a vibrant, life-changing kingdom encounter.
Dr. Tony Evans identifies kingdom encounters as powerful moments when we connect with God beyond information and through experience. In Kingdom Encounters, Dr. Evans explores how the faithful characters of Scripture encountered God—and were forever changed. As we see in the lives of these characters, these moments often occur in the middle of conflicts and trials when we least expect it. Dr. Evans’ hope for you is that, “you realize that when things are going left, you feel trapped and God seems absent, that you are probably right where God wants you in order to experience a life-altering kingdom encounter.” Join Dr. Evans as he explores how these moments can bolster your faith, restore your hope, and make clear to you the face of our almighty God.
In Kingdom Encounters, Tony Evans leads readers on a journey to seek God beneath the superficial and to develop a real, substantial, experiential relationship with their Creator. Too often, our Christian faith lives in the realm of information. We know about God. We read the stories in the Bible. But the faith they had and the faith we have doesn’t always connect. Evans writes that those with life-changing Kingdom encounters in Scripture goes beyond the head-knowledge and affects the very core of their being…and that those Kingdom Encounters often come through trial and tragedy.
It’s a bit of a whiplash to be sure. Evans teaches readers that they can have life-altering encounters with the Creator, then uses the examples of Scripture to show how those encounters often came in the middle of conflict, struggle, and at the least-expected moments. Think Moses—at the age of eighty—finding his calling in a burning bush. Think of Paul on the Damascus Road. With precision and clarity, Evans uses Scripture to lead readers into their own Kingdom Encounters.
You can always tell when a book is developed from a sermon series. It’s all in the titles. Evans has ten chapters, all ten of which tell us how to encounter something of God, all ten of which start with the letter P: person, power, promises, peace, provision, promotion, process, petition, presence, and preeminence. Each chapter is fewer than twenty pages long, meaning that you could turn the book into a short devotional. Evans pulls in cultural references and anecdotes—some work better than others—to set the groundwork for his Scriptural point. It’s conversational, engaging, and exhortative.
Evans, particularly in this book, reminds me of Max Lucado in his tone and tenor as he addresses the issues and encourages his readers to walk more closely with their God. Evans has carefully developed his writing voice and style through the years, and this is it: encouraging, exhortative, and accessible. There are places he remains a bit generic. His points aren’t wrong, but they aren’t particularly engaging or deep, either. Some of his anecdotes are a bit confusing or fall flat. Some of it, I think, comes in the movement from what is obviously a spoken sermon series to book form. Not everything translates quite perfectly.
Kingdom Encounters is the perfect read for those experiencing a trial and wanting to know where God is (and isn’t that everybody at some level, this year in particular?). It’s a primer, an introductory volume. It’s the cheerleading section that gets you pumped up and able to carry through. It’s a great addition to the Kingdom series of books and Dr. Evans’ ministry.